This coming Sunday is the last day of racing for the fall series. The forecast is for partly cloudy skies with a high of 52 and moderate winds from the south. It it holds true, this should be a great day to end the season! Then next Saturday is the PRSA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet. Visit the PRSA website for details and to sign up!
Last weekend, team As You Wish…was in Hampton VA for the Fall Fling. It was a great event with 2 days of racing and one of the highest turnouts in many years. There were 7 Lightnings, and would have been 8, except 2 boats needed crew and had to combine boats. Sat we had 5 hard races, the wind was predominately steady from the north winds from 15-20. The steady breeze made the 5 races races very lively and tiring but never out of control or too much to handle. Saturday night the Hampton Yacht Club members hosted an awesome Pot Luck/Oyster Roast at one of the member’s homes a few blocks away from the club. By Sunday, the breeze was predicted to die all day following the front that came thru but it stayed in the 5-6 range and the RC was able to get in 2 additional races. This was the prefect way to end the regatta, the temps were in the 70’s, most of us were wearing shorts and although the winds were light, no paddling was required! Congrats again to the winners, Trevor Prior, Hans & Gary sailed well and placed 1st; Joe Bukowski, Ed Lane & Zack Bukowski came in 2nd and Team Hurban, Joan, Gary and Paulie Kaiser were a very close 3rd. (See the pics below).
Some winter thoughts…If you have not considered traveling to away regattas, please reconsider. When Jim and I first joined Fleet 50 and were trying to “get the basics” of this incredibly humbling boat down, the number one recommendation to getting more experience by traveling to away regattas. Although when we first considered traveling it was quite overwhelming, it has been the best thing we have done to gain experience. If you have questions, just ask! There are many folks who will help with recommendations and procedures on traveling, stepping your mast, setting up your boat and all around cheerleads for new teams. And most importantly, the host clubs are so excited to get more boats on the line! You will find new friendships, lots of great sailing stories and invaluable knowledge. Lightning sailors are a tight knit group that will go out of their way to support each other!
The weather forecasts threatened rain and maybe even thunderstorms and the sky was gray. But guess what? No rain and the best breeze we’ve had all fall! It was a small group of 5 Lightning and 2 Buccs at the Albacores were at West River for their Nationals and neither the I-20s or Multi-Hulls were there. You guys missed out!
The RC gave us four W-2 courses set up on a southwesterly axis. Jeff Neurauter, Heather Howard, Ben Arthur, and Ann Tyree ran race committee. Tom Hutton did the scores (posted to the PRSA Website). Thanks!
Here is the writeup from Geoff Bishop, 3rd place Lightning in Sunday’s Fall Series #3. Geoff was sailing with his daughter, Gigi, and son Quentin. Thank you, Geoff, for the writeup and great job to you and your crew for a 3rd on a very tough day! Please feel free to add your own comments and observations here as well.
Sit still and try to keep moving! It was a fun day on the river but once again not much wind. Sailing out to the course I was pleasantly surprised by a steady breeze but in the end the forecast for light and variable winds held true. The race committee did a phenomenal job setting the marks and a square start line despite early engine problems. Trying to recall the light air sailing lessons we learned last week, our strategy was simply to keep the boat moving. We did our best to start the day’s only race on starboard with speed and footed nicely up the left side of the course. When waves from boat traffic in the channel came by we footed even more in order to keep our boat moving through the chop. Taking those waves head on in this light air would have been deadly. Then the wind died and a breeze filled in on the right side of the course! The boats that went right were heroes! In retrospect the more dependable wind was probably coming down the Anacostia – on the right side of the course – and I made a point of staying right on the next upwind leg. The rest of the race seems a bit of a blur as we sat bobbing up and down, drifting under the blazing sun. Somewhere along the way I recalled the saying: “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” This thought came to mind right about the time Shadowfax came scooting by us downwind with the spinnaker pulling and passing boats right and left. With patience and perseverance we coaxed our boat forward and on the last downwind leg found a little breath of wind coming off the airport side of the river that we used to generate some momentum around the pin and into the final stretch. The final leg of our race reminded me of rubber duckies floating in a bathtub. We were near a group of about four lightnings just bobbing ever closer to the finish line – and in particular the leeward pin as the current was at least as strong as any “wind.” By sheer luck we bobbed just ahead of Frank and Marianne (we had traded places back and forth with them most of the race) for a third place finish. Not exactly lightning speed, but we’ll take it. Thank you to all who participated –most of the classes had a great turnout – and thank you to the race committee who graciously let us go in early to enjoy the rest of our afternoon on shore.
Congratulations to Team As You Wish for their fantastic win at the PRSA Spring Regatta! Lisa-Marie sailed with Jim Lane and Christy Chen, and I have to say that they did an extraordinary day in some challenging conditions to beat out 6 other Lightnings and earn their first regatta win. Great job all around — I know that the entire Fleet is thrilled for you!
As I mentioned, the conditions on Sunday were very challenging (after no racing on Saturday due to a total lack of wind). The breeze was generally easterly in direction (!) and ranged from 5-10 knots, with some pretty big swings to the south with puffs and then lots of soft spots, and dead spots, throughout the course. The RC sent us off on 4 O2 races (the only real choice given wind direction and river constraints), which put a premium on boathandling around the relatively short course as well as attention to finding clear air as one navigated around and through 4 other classes on the course.
Watching As You Wish throughout the day (from behind them for most of it!) I noticed how well they did in doing a couple of things: (a) not pinching, and (b) keeping their air clear, especially on the reach legs where boats tended to cluster a bit and it was very easy to get rolled. It was a day that demanded persistence and patience, for sure. On Beedobeat (sailing with Geoff and Quentin Bishop) we found ourselves able to get off the start line and up to the windward mark ahead in several races, especially once we figured out the advantage that came with going left early to get up current and get into better pressure. But As You Wish and the rest of the pack were tenacious, and we did get rolled on a couple of the reach/run legs.
Overall the results were very tight, with As You Wish beating out Alex, Will, and Ed Lane on No Call, No Show in a tiebreaker for 1st, followed in 3rd by John Van Voorhis and David Keto on Shamrock just one point behind! Congratulations once again to Lisa-Marie, Jim, and Christy for a great job and for a well-earned 1st regatta win!
Sixteen boats turned out for the SSA No Gas Regatta in Annapolis for two days of great racing in Annapolis. We had great Fleet 50 participation, with Nabeel (sailing with Chandler Owen, Russ Roberts, and Jeff Witten), Lisa-Marie Lane (sailing with Jim and Molly-Lynn Westrate), Aaron crewing for Rick Welch (along with Kin Ellot), and Bruce Heida (crewing for Greg Kelly)
The breeze was up a bit early on Saturday morning as we all rigged, but things settled down to a pretty steady 12-14 by the time we were racing. We had some good runs in the first race with plenty of hiking and then things stabilized out a bit for 3 more great races, with the breeze tailing off towards the end of the 4th race such that we were stripping off foul weather gear as we headed back to the marina (see the fantastic photo from Ted Morgan, below, and more regatta photos here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm18qtfY).
Sailing with Rick and Kin we made a concerted effort to have a plan for the first leg off the start (direction to go, when/whether to tack) and we did a fairly good job of executing that plan in most races. Competition was tight in a very talented fleet, though, and an OCS in race 1 didn’t help our overall position after day 1. Nonetheless, we had a blast, went fast, and enjoyed some great bbq & beer at SSA after the racing.
The breeze was forecast to be lighter on Sunday and that forecast held true, with winds in the 8-10 range for most of the day. We again really focused on a plan, and on looking up the course for shifts and pressure. We managed to get a few things right for some decent finishes (a 4 and a 6 among them) on Day 2. After three races we were back on shore toasting the leaders and celebrating another No Gas (one with 7 races and very little power boat chop!) in the books. Full results are posted here: http://www.lightningclass.org/racing/results/2017/noGas.asp. A great regatta all around, and great to have good Fleet 50 participation!
What a great weekend! With 6 great races in breezy conditions, a fantastic BBQ, great camping, and good fun all around, the 2017 Doc Gilbert Potomac Cup is in the books. Congratulations to all the competitors and many, many thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make the regatta such a success. Complete results are posted here and more photos will be posted soon.
Thanks to all who joined us for the Fleet 50 Annual General Meeting & Awards Potluck last evening. I’m pleased to announce the winners of our skipper and crew awards as well as the 2017 Fleet 50 Board of Officers. The Fleet 50 Championship Series results are posted to the “Results” area of the website. Congratulations all around!
2016 Fleet Championship
John Van Voorhis
Best New Crew: Christiam Camacho Most Improved Crew: Ryan Huttar High Impact Crew: Christy Chen
Team Sprit Skipper: Bob Gotthardt Congeniality Award: Aaron Boesenecker Skipper of the Year: Lisa-Marie Lane
Fleet Helper: Lindsay Bach
Bloody Rudder: Lisa-Marie Lane All Weather Sailor: Tom Hutton / Jim Lane (tie) Iron Skipper: John Van Voorhis / Nabeel Alsalam (tie) Most Improved Skipper: Aaron Boesenecker
Fleet Captain: Lisa-Marie Lane Lieutenant for Racing: John Van Voorhis Treasurer: Bob Gotthardt Secretary: Geof Fuller Scorer: Webmaster: (pending–may merge website with PRSA site) Potomac Cup Regatta Chair:
We had absolutely fantastic weather for Fall Series #6: light to moderate southerly breezes, temps in the 70s, and a nice clear sky. This all worked out well for me on Beedobeat as I ended up sailing with Bill Parker, a college sailing friend of Connor Burke’s, who had plenty of sailing experience but was on a Lightning for the 1st time. Bill was up front, and then we had in the middle another new sailor, Debra, sailing for first time ever on a sailboat! The RC did a great job of getting us a number of races including some O2 courses that were quite nice given the wind velocity and angles. We generally found that the left (channel) side of the course was favorable given wind and current, and that getting out there meant a bit of an advantage and fewer tacks to get to the windward mark. Downwind a quick jibe towards the airport (on the run) was also favorable as it got you out of the current. I just have to say that Debra did a stellar job flying the spinnaker all day (again, first time on a sailboat ever!!!) and Bill was a rockstar up front — we were able to do all of this in our first time ever sailing together, and I thought that this was amazing! Scores are posted on the PRSA website.
We had a great day for racing this past Sunday! Six Lightnings, two Bucs, two Albacores, and an I-20 came out to play on a sunny day that featured some great, albeit shifty, breeze. PRO Farley Will and his crew did a great job managing a “wacky west wind” in setting a course that gave us a mix of O2, T2, T3, and O3 courses. The wind reports from National Airport show a breeze of 12-15 throughout the afternoon with the occasional gust in the 20s.
Scores will be posted soon, and I think we will also have some great photos taken from the RC boats to post as well. Stay tuned for that information, and keep reading for some of my observations from aboard Beedobeat with Piercarlo. In many ways, it was a great day to be double-handing!